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Five things to know about our flags


April 2, 2011 at midnight
Updated April 1, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.

Tom Green speaks about the history of different flags to students at Our Lady of Victory School. Green is a history buff, who travels to different schools to help inspire interest in history through his presentations.

A true Texan never lets the truth get in the way of a good story.

At least that's the disclaimer Thomas Bruce Green III, an amateur historian with the Sons of the American Revolution, says before most of his presentations.

The fifth-generation Texan from Pearland added the warning as he shared folklore and flag history with Our Lady of Victory School students at a recent school visit.

"Professional historians say that, unless you can find two documents that are credible, then its folklore," he said. "Well, I say, who cares? It doesn't make any difference."

Dressed in the full regalia of a colonial British officer, he presented the long lineage of American and Texas flags in the school's gym accompanied by tales of struggle.

One of the most memorable was of Strap Buckner, a folklore hero of colonial Texas, who died defending Texans at a battle near Fayette and Matagorda counties.

"Strap Buckner lifts a barn door off the hinges and was using it as a shield," he said. "But he forgot about the cannon, so he was killed by splinters when they fired into the barn door."

Folklore aside, here are a few fun flag facts facts about our state and national symbols.

1. Betsy Ross, the sewer of the first American flag, was a struggling widow in 1776 when she was asked to stitch the first flag. She was disowned by Quakers, had seven daughters and lost two husbands during the American Revolution, but was trusted to create the piece after she showed respected members of the Continental Congress that she could create a five-pointed star with a single scissors snip.

2. Texas has had three national and state flags. The first official flag, authorized by the Republic of Texas in 1836, was known as the National Standard of Texas. It had a large golden star in the middle of a tropical blue field.

3. In 1818 Congress passed an act that allows new states to have a star symbolizing their statehood added to the flag on the July 4 following when the state was added. The last star was added in 1960 and represented Hawaii.

4. The state adopted the Texas Flag Code in 1933, which ordered the red and blue colors of the state flag to be the same colors used in the US flag, the so-called Old Glory Red and Old Glory Blue. The red and blue colors are specifically defined by the Standard Color Reference of America.

5. Francis Scott Key, author of the "The Star Spangled Banner" penned his famous poem during the battle of 1812 on the back of a letter. The words were later set to the tune of an old British song used by the Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen's club in London. The tune is still our national anthem.

SOURCES: Handbook of Texas Online, Independence Hall Association, Encyclopedia Smithsonian



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